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Vancouver's Ekona Power to build hydrogen plant in Alberta

Plant to make carbon-abated hydrogen from natural gas
The Gold Creek natural gas plant in Grande Prairie, Alberta will produce one tonne of hydrogen per day.

Alberta oil and gas company ARC Resources (TSX:ARX) will build a new hydrogen plant in Alberta using a methane pyrolysis technology developed by Vancouver’s Ekona Power.

Ekona today announced it has signed its first industrial contract, putting it on the path to commercialization.

Using Ekona's xCaliber reactor, ARC will use natural gas from its Gold Creek natural gas plant in Grande Prairie to make what has been dubbed as “turquoise hydrogen." It will produce one tonne of hydrogen per day.

Green hydrogen is made from water using electricity, and as long as the electricity is from non-emitting sources like nuclear power or renewables, it produces no CO2 emissions.

Blue hydrogen is made from natural gas. That produces CO2, but it is captured and sequestered. This latter approach requires access to geological storage, and typically requires dedicated CO2 pipelines, all of which adds costs.

Ekona’s xCaliber reactor process makes hydrogen from natural gas, but eliminates the need for pipelines and geological storage because the CO2 is captured in a solid form. 

This solid carbon can either be used in a number industrial applications, or simply landfilled. Neither Ekona nor ARC Resources have said what the plans are for dealing with the carbon byproduct.

“Ekona Plant One is a first-of-a-kind clean hydrogen production solution with technology that can reduce the carbon intensity of natural gas operations – not years from now, but today,” Ekona CEO Chris Reid said in a news release.

“ARC Resources is an important investor and a leader in responsible energy development. We are proud to be demonstrating made-in-Canada technology that offers a viable and near-term solution for using hydrocarbons in cleaner, better ways. This deployment supports the strategic priorities of our partner while being a critical next step on Ekona’s commercialization path.”

“By investing in emerging clean technologies, we are helping to accelerate the development of new solutions that have the potential to drive operational efficiencies or improve emissions performance of our Canadian natural gas production,” said ARC COO Armin Jahangiri.

“We are pleased to partner with Ekona to advance their technology and unlock additional ways for our industry to advance its emissions reduction efforts.”

Ekona said the plant will be built in 2024 and commissioned and tested in 2025.

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